ID: 'Watertight' case against Gupta-associate Iqbal Sharma, three FS officials

ID: 'Watertight' case against Gupta-associate Iqbal Sharma, three FS officials

The Investigating Directorate (ID) believes it has a watertight case against Gupta-linked businessman Iqbal Sharma and three former Free State Agriculture officials.

Iqbal Sharma and Free State former officials at Bloem Magistrate court

The group was arrested on Wednesday across three provinces in connection with the Vrede dairy farm project.

The case centres on a 2011 feasibility study that was carried out by Nulane Investments, where Sharma was a director, on the project.

ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka says the R24 million study was the cover-up for alleged looting that took place in the failed dairy project.

All four suspects appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.    

The former head of the Free State Agriculture department Peter Thabethe and Sharma will remain in custody at the Bainsvlei Police Station until Monday when they are expected to apply for bail.

Their co-accused Bloem Water CEO, Limakatso Moorosi, and former Free State Agriculture Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Sylvia Dlamini will re-appear in the same courthouse on Thursday afternoon for their bail application.

"Those particular officials breached the Public Finance Management Act, they did not do due diligence in that regard," Seboka told the SABC.

"And then the other accused also face charges of fraud and money laundering."


The Vrede Dairy criminal case was struck off the roll in 2018.

Seboka added there might still be an opportunity to reinstate the charges in the controversial project which was meant to benefit upcoming farmers.

"When we took up office in 2019, those are part of the priories that we were tasked to in investigate," she said. 

"Even Estina, people can expect that it should be re-enrolled soon."

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